Baseball · creativity · On Writing

Big Words Don’t Make It Better

Lofty, inspired words!

Thesaurus vomit obscures

Meaning’s beating heart…

The pretty postcard announced the outdoor art exhibit. The fantastic drawing on the front invited you into a different world while the text on the back detailed the artist’s intention to break paradigms, to elicit viewer activation, to challenge dominant narratives. Dense text bristled about all the fantastically complex narratives gathered and interpreted, ultimately transformed with exquisite genius and painstaking connection with all the voices that must be heard.

The exhibit was a short distance from the permanent installation. It was a perfect, sunny afternoon in August with scudding clouds, dragonflies over the wildflowers. Having visited favorite pieces and discovered some new ones, we got in the car and went home happy, new exhibit unseen, paradigms secure and narratives intact.

On the way home, we listened to a baseball game on the radio. From what we could figure out, it was a terrific game. We had to pay close attention to figure out what was going on, because the broadcasters studded their play-by-play comments with words such as “obfuscation.” When a power hitter nailed a home run to clinch the game, it was as if he interrupted a far more important rambling monologue.

August afternoon. Sun. Art. Baseball.

Simple well-chosen words would have enticed, inspired, and informed. The art would reach and touch more people. Baseball fans as well as dragged-along others would have enjoyed spectacular athleticism, heroic charges, and dramatic misses.

What did the author/speaker intend? Draw us closer to see what they see or throw up thickets to prove superiority? Did they write to connect — or to impress and distance? Was it a window for others or a mirror for their own admiration?

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